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‘We’re being held hostage’ Dewey Beach defends against encroaching wireless towers

Delaware Public Media

Dewey Beach is trying to keep its beachfront from becoming strewn with new wireless towers.


Many Dewey Beach residents are frustrated as new cell phone towers pop up along the beachside.


But the town hasn’t been able to do anything,  Under a decades old agreement, DelDOT maintains the rights of way on all roads in Dewey Beach, and approved new wireless tower permits.


Resident Ben Proctor says he hasn’t found anyone in the town that wants these towers where they are now.


“We’re the only town that has these towers on the beachfront, as you’re entering the beach," he said. "Bethany it’s four blocks back, Rehoboth using existing infrastructure, nothing in Fenwick or Lewes.”


Resident Jeff Smith was one of many outraged at what these wireless companies were doing to ruin the aesthetic of the town.


“Tear down these poles, let’s move them to Route 1, let’s put em where every other town is putting them because the outrage of this situation will not stop," said Smith.


Dewey's neighbor, Rehoboth Beach was able to work to integrate the new 5G towers into the existing street lights.


The town commissioners voted on a new ordinance requiring companies to apply for a permit from the town to build new towers.


The commissioners say this is the town exercising its right to enforce a design standard for the towers. Because of federal and state laws, that’s the only thing the town can do, barring a lawsuit.


They hope this helps the town ensure any new towers built avoid obstructing views or create an eyesore for people wanting to watch the sunrise.


Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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